How do you say während in English? Do while and during mean the same thing?
Although while and during have the same function – to talk about two things happening at the same time – the two words are used in different situations.
While is a conjunction and should be used before a clause (a part of a sentence with a subject and verb); during is a preposition and should be used before a noun (German: Substantiv).
Compare these examples:
|She called me while I was in the meeting.||Sie hat mich angerufen, während ich im Meeting war.|
|She called me during the meeting.||Sie hat mich während des Meetings angerufen.|
In the first example, while is followed by the clause I was in the meeting. In the second, during is followed by a noun (the meeting).
In German, während can function as both a conjunction and a preposition. In the first example, während is followed by the clause ich im Meeting war, and in the second it is followed by a noun in the genitive case (des Meetings).
As German speakers don’t think about how they’re using während, deciding whether to use while or during can sometimes be a bit difficult. But once you understand the difference, this becomes easier.
Here are a few more examples:
|He fell asleep while we were watching the film.||Er ist eingeschlafen, während wir den Film geschaut haben.|
|He fell asleep during the film.||Er ist während des Films eingeschlafen.|
|Please feel free to ask questions while I am making the presentation.||Sie dürfen gerne jederzeit Fragen stellen, während ich die Präsentation halte.|
|Please feel free to ask questions during the presentation.||Sie dürfen gerne jederzeit Fragen während der Präsentation stellen.|
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